didn’t get a stranglehold on the College Hockey America
race by sweeping visiting Bemidji State last weekend. But
the way the Chargers have been playing, it looks like it's
a matter of time before they apply their kung-fu grip to
the regular season title.
UAH is a sizzling 8-1-1 in its last 10 games,
with the lone blemish a 4-3 loss at Niagara last month.
The Chargers sit atop the league with 21 points, and enjoy
some breathing room between themselves and the second-place
Beavers, who have 17 points. After getting out of the gate
with four straight wins and victories in nine of its first
12 games, BSU has posted a pedestrian 4-7-3 mark in its
last 14 games.
Both teams have six league games left. Third-place
Niagara is still in the mix with 15 points, but has two
games in hand on the teams it pursues.
“Our guys had a great week of preparation
and lot of focus during the week,” Alabama-Huntsville
coach Doug Ross said. “Our players kept their feet
moving during the games and we got some great goaltending
from Scott (Munroe). And, we did a better job of staying
out of the box.”
Indeed, Munroe was fabulous in both ends of
the series. The senior from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan stopped
all but one of the 34 shots he faced in the Chargers’
2-1 win on Friday, then came back to turn aside 36 shots
– 18 of them in a hectic first period – in UAH’s
4-2 win the following day.
“It was a great confidence builder for
us to be able to keep this positive winning streak going,”
Ross said. “We’ve been playing well.”
The losses weren’t the end of the world
for Bemidji State, but given the directions in which two
teams appear to be heading, the Beavers can probably see
it on the horizon from their vantage point.
“We played pretty good,” BSU coach
Tom Serratore said. “We struggled on the power play.
That was probably the difference – special teams.
“If you took a look at the coaches’
poll at the beginning of the year, we had Huntsville number
one,” he continued. “Things are playing out
the way everybody thought. They’ve got an experienced
defensive corps and experienced goaltending, and it is paving
the way for them.”
The two teams meet to close out the regular
season March 3-4 in Bemidji.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CHA
Break up the Colonials: Robert
Morris jumped from sixth place to fourth after taking a
pair of games from Air Force last weekend, the first series
sweep in the Colonials’ brief two-year history.
“We did the things we needed to do to
win hockey games,” said RMU coach Derek Schooley,
a former Air Force assistant. “We got outshot both
nights, but…we got good goaltending and capitalized
The Colonials, winners of three straight overall
and four consecutive games at home, won the series opener
Friday, 5-2, despite being outshot 41-21. Goaltender Christian
Boucher, who got a rare night off in RMU’s mid-week
non-conference win over Princeton, returned to the lineup
to make 39 saves. Joel Gasper pitched in a pair of goals,
while Kurt Wright had a goal and an assist and Jason Towsley
added two assists.
Saturday, the Colonials broke open a tie game
with two late goals en route to a 3-2 win. Wright evened
the score with just over 10 minutes left in regulation;
Jace Buzek scored the game-winner with less than five minutes
“We’ve had issues scoring goals
lately and it was good to see our guys find the back of
the net,” Schooley said. “We grinded both wins
out in games where at times we were outplayed. But it doesn’t
matter who wins the territorial battle, it matters who wins
on the scoreboard.”
It may be a tad premature to tab the Colonials
as a dark-horse candidate to win the CHA Tournament, but
they are playing as good as anyone in the league outside
of Alabama-Huntsville. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.
Great Weekend Getaway
Force at Niagara (Fri.-Sat.) These two clubs split a series in Colorado
Springs last month, and they reunite in western New
York with different purposes in mind. The Falcons
seek to build momentum heading down the stretch, while
the Purple Eagles, who still have hopes of winning
the conference’s regular-season championship,
returns to play after a sorely needed weekend off.
“It was a chance for us to reflect on where
we are in the season and the opportunity that lies
ahead,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said.
“There are eight games to go and first place
is still an option. That’s all you want this
time of year is to do something special.”
As mentioned the Purple Eagles do have two games
in hand on the clubs they are chasing, and have a
chance to put that advantage to use this weekend.
“(Air Force) has been outshooting teams dramatically,”
Burkholder said. “They are relentless. If we
don’t take care of business at home, and I don’t
know if we deserve be a champion anyway.”
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• This weekend, both Bemidji State and
Alabama-Huntsville play non-league series. The Beavers are
at Western Michigan while the Chargers host RIT.
“The schedule is the schedule, and you
don’t worry about it,” said BSU coach Tom Serratore.
“We have to try to get back on track. We’re
struggling scoring goals as of late. It was not a problem
for us earlier in the year but it is a problem now. Our
goals against is outstanding, but we have to score some
goals. If we can get our offense clicking I think we are
going to be just fine.”
After scoring 10 goals in a weekend sweep
of Air Force two weekends ago, the Beavers only scored three
• Robert Morris tries to extend both
its winning streaks this weekend as the Colonials entertain
“We just need to focus on the things
we need to be successful,” Schooley said. “The
minute we start to get ahead of ourselves or feel good about
ourselves, it comes back to bite us. We just need to play
period by period.”
• Alabama-Huntsville isn't the only
CHA club with an upcoming date with Division I newcomer
RIT. Air Force follows its two-game set at Niagara with
a side trip to Rochester, where they'll take on the Tigers
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report.